Everything has an upside

I was just sitting here (coughing) and reflecting on my weekend, which I spent mostly coughing.  I’m at that annoying phase of getting over chest things that involves feeling mostly better, but still coughing in a way that makes everyone around you flinch. My energy is back, I’m feeling like I can take on the world again – but that cough says “sit down Sister, you’re not as awesome as you think.” So, I sat down.  Except for a jaunt out on Friday night, and a few long walks to break up the monotony, I’ve been sitting, and for me, sitting means knitting.  (Usually walking means knitting too, but it’s too cold outside to have my mittens off. Stupid winter.) So, a few pictures of what all that knitting got accomplished.

I finished the big green Siren Song, and I knew blocking it was going to be dramatic, so I took a few “before” pictures to amuse myself.

sirenbefore 2016-02-02

I loved how it looked pre-block. Sculptural, loads of texture… I was almost reluctant to block it.  It had a nice bath, then I ran blocking wires through the top edge, and pinned out the bottom.  The yarn’s a merino laceweight – I’d link to it, but there’s nowhere on-line to get it. It’s Judith MacKenzie’s hand dyed stuff, and I’ve only ever seen it places where she’s teaching. I scooped it at the last Port Ludlow Retreat Marketplace. The thing about merino is that it has tons of crimp, so it’s super stretchy and bouncy.  That means you can block the daylights out of it, it will go and go… but once it’s unpinned and a bit of humidity gets to it, it’s going to bounce back. It won’t hold the block very well, so there’s no point in trying. Better to let it have its way – yarn from sheep with super curly hair is like having curly hair. You can try to straighten it out if you want to, but it won’t last.

sirenafter 2016-02-02

The transformation was pretty glorious anyway. You’d hardly believe it was the same piece.

sirendetail 2016-02-02 sirenwhole 2016-02-02

When that bad boy was done – I finished the leg/foot of a sock, and whacked an afterthought heel into it.  When the time came to do the heel originally, I didn’t have the contrast yarn with me, so I just kept on going. When I was all done, I pulled out a row of the knitting, picked up the exposed live stitches,

afterthought 2016-02-02

and boom. (I know you’ll all ask – the yarn is MustStash perfect sock, and the colourway is Martian Rainbow.)

afterthoughtmore 2016-02-02 (1)

When the heel was done, I even did something incredibly clever. I made notes about how I’d done it, wrote them on a post-it, and tucked it inside the finished sock.  I always think I’m going to remember how I did things, and I never do.

afterthoughtnote 2016-02-02

I end up spending tons of time reading my knitting and trying to figure out what I did – but not this time.  This time, I actually did what I tell people to do all the time. Then I started the second sock, knit the toe so I was past the tricky bit and it could just be a simple thing that travels in my purse for the next while, and…

jacketstart 2016-02-02

Started a baby jacket and knit most of the yoke.

Lots of knitting! A mountain of knitting. Started things, finished things, organized things!   it almost made this stupid cough worth it. (Cough. Not really. I’m just trying to be positive.  Cough)

70 thoughts on “Everything has an upside

  1. I am trying to decide if I should be good and work or take a day/afternoon off soon to maybe get a sweater done before Stitches West. I am taking my knitting everywhere I go to make progress. Tomorrow is the car shop. I just don’t think I am strong enough to do the last minute drama that you go through before Rhinebeck. Also Stitches is inside, but can still be cool in the morning and classrooms. Thanks for inspiring me yet again.

  2. Post it notes are clearly essential for all knitters.

    Is there a baby expected, or is this on spec?

    It blocked out very well. Nicely done.

  3. Beautiful knitting, especially that baby-jacket.

    The knitting tutorial you posted re how to fix a mistake without ripping back ….? THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH!! A day after reading that I needed it, and it worked like a charm. Only 6 stitch fix, but kept me from having to rip back 3 rows, so thanks again!

  4. You might be hacking away with a cough and feeling poorly but writing a note explaining how you did the heel shows me your mind is healthy. The sitting and knitting has cured you.

    Siren Song is a perfect picture on the power of blocking – Transformative

  5. I had to touch the house, which is where I have mostly been the last two weeks (except for crawling into work occasionally), also with a lingering cough. Unlike you, I don’t feel like knitting when I am sick, so when I picked up my latest little project on Sunday, I knew I had turned the corner!

    Here’s hoping you are over your cough soon!!!

    • I’m gob-smacked by your ability to identify that sweater, to remember its appearance in the blog nine and a half years ago, and to find it! Nice to get a preview of the whole cute-as-anything

      • Dude! Deborah beat me to the punch! Props for remembering it had already made an appearance on the blog. I only recognized it because I’m working on one also.

  6. I didn’t feel the siren song love from the pics on ravelry – but your finished one is WOWSERS! Love it, will have to add the pattern to my favorites!

  7. It’s encouraging to know you still have things to learn about sock knitting. Sorry about the cough – I know that feeling. You’re better, but not.

  8. I love the way that with the time difference here in the UK a Yarn Harlot post is like the best kind of bedtime reading, a real treat to check for before I turn in for the night! I’ll probably be knitting in my dreams now, like I usually do after reading a knitting post. Maybe this time I’ll figure out the utter amazingness of an afterthought heel, which at the moment just looks like alchemy to me.

  9. Ooh, I’m very excited about this yoked baby jacket, but those socks are glorious!

    And as for curly hair – embrace the curls!

  10. My current purse knitting is a sock with an afterthought heel. Well, more properly, a “forethought” heel. The pattern has you knit in a bit of waste yarn to make picking up the stitches easier. It’s my first toe-up socks and first afterthought heel, so I haven’t attempted the heel yet. Prepping to knit socks for my son with size 15 feet – figure I’ll need every cm of yarn.

  11. This is the one thing I love about the point in getting over sickness where you feel almost better but you’re not quite 100% yet — it’s the perfect excuse to lounge around and do nothing but knit!

    Hope the cough goes away soon (and if it doesn’t, get thee back to the doctor).

  12. Your gift for matching yarns to projects continually amazes me. Can’t decide if I love Siren Song or just your Siren Song! I’m hoping if I just keep reading, someday it will rub off on me.

  13. Whoa!! What a transformation! I apologize for thinking it looked reptilian. I should have known better, after seeing so many of your blocking miracles. It’s gorgeous.

  14. Good for you for writing down what you did. It’s soooo hard to stop the momentum to do that. I use Hilroy notebooks to record everything and, after years of knitting, I have binders and binders worth of notes. Saves a lot of time, though when you don’t have to re-invent the wheel next time you come to the same problem.

  15. I may just have to join the rush on this pattern. It looks awesome blocked. Is this virus contagious? Kick that cough!

  16. I’m glad to hear you’re resting/knitting instead of pushing through because..well because we always have a reason to-not always a good reason in hindsight. That mental list keeps shouting at us doesn’t it? Like its the boss of us or something…when We are the ones that make the list! Nothing like painting ourselves into a perpetual corner.
    So glad you took on siren song before I did…it is lovely. I’ve had that one parked in my favorites for awhile.
    I didn’t know that crimpy bit about merino…having curly hair I understand it completely now. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for blogging when you felt like !@#$.
    Hope your cough gets the last of those persistent nasties out of your lungs so they don’t come back to visit. Rest/heal/knit.

  17. I LOVE the shape of that wrap! I often fall in love with the look of triangular shawls but find they don’t look great on me, but that has an interesting shape that’s still rectangular-ish.

  18. That yarn is fantastic.
    If she had any on hand, I bet she’d sell hundreds of skeins… certainly to me. That’s the prettiest rainbow yarn I’ve ever seen.
    Guess I’ll have to CO Dark Side of the Moon instead, which is tired of sitting quietly in my stash.

  19. When people talk about how “In the old days, a person could knit a pair of socks in a week, every week.” I think the afterthought heel is how it was done. Think about it. Cast on and keep knitting until the damn thing is long enough. Put a toe in it. Then go back and do the heel. Frankly I think that is how kids were knitting socks. Have them do all the tube knitting then Mum does the tricky parts. More socks get knit this way and kids learn the hard stuff later.

  20. Beautiful! And I need to see more of that baby jacket–my 13-month-old granddaughter needs me to make that, like, right now–thank you for the inspiration! (Now where do I find the pattern…)

  21. Similarly laid up with knitting – I sprained my ankle at work, and they’re very insistent that I don’t, do not, absolutely do NOT do anything to make it worse (and make their insurance pay more). So naturally, the best thing to do with a swollen ankle is start socks!

  22. Beautiful Siren! Now about that cough…my husband didn’t believe me when I told him to slather Vicks on the bottoms of his feet before bedtime and put on a pair of socks. He didn’t cough AT ALL! It worked for my grandsons too. It’s worth a try.

  23. Hope you feel better soon. I’ve got two sweaters I’m supposed to be finishing… Don’t feel like it. I have yarn for a wedding shawl for my soon to be niece in law.. Don’t feel like it. I have yarn for a cardigan for me… Nope. I’m avoiding the yarn store because when I’m in this mood I’ll come home with 27 projects worth of yarn that’ll disappear into the stash while I knit something like a red and orange striped sock just to get some color in my winter. Maybe I should just go stash shopping or finish one of the ufos I’ve got sitting around…

  24. Yep, only curly girls understand how curly hair works! I am one and I do. Thankyou ;) Wondrous shawl, too.

    The rainbow sock is beautiful – then I thought of the rainbow braces (suspenders) I had around the time of Mork & Mindy and winced. Lol.
    But yesterday we had a wonderful, enormous rainbow across the sky to make up for the weather…

  25. Hi
    the siren song turned out so beautiful! worth the effort!

    I have to agree on the winter-knitting-while-walking matter: It sucks! I usually freeze my hands off in winter because I don’t want to stop knitting. So for me it’s good thing we don’t have any real winters lately (but I love winter and snow anyway).
    Knit on

  26. Merino wool. Humidity. So THAT’S why my blocking won’t stay put. I live in the Deep South where the humidity is industrial strength. And I’ve knitted lots of merino wool lace. (I didn’t know about the bounce back.) Since I’m not moving, guess I’d better branch out and look at other yarns.

  27. Being sick is horrid, but imagine how wretched it must be for those who don’t knit. I thought Siren Song looked somehow familiar, clicked on the link and saw why; I’ve had Song of the Sea qued forever and last month I wound the yarn, which is sitting out in the open in my living room.

  28. I can’t believe the difference between the first and second photos. What a beautiful piece. The baby sweater is so pretty, as well!

  29. glad you are on the mend and especially glad for your 12 incredible years of blogging, stephanie! i took a couple of classes from you at columbia gorge last november, and wanted to share with you my “cause of death” incident that happened over the weekend. i have to take courses for continuing ed every year so on a break of this last course i was practicing lever knitting which i am still trying to get the hang of, and my yarn was dangling on the floor. a classmate squeezed by me and caught the yarn on her foot unknowingly and kept walking down the aisle. in front of hundreds of people, i am trying to chase after her and my yarn. thankfully no one was harmed in this incident, but it could have been 2 “cause of deaths.”

  30. WOW! Thank you for that photo example. That REALLY shows the power. I thought your before shawl was quite ugly (though I NEVER would have said so.) And the finished project is gorgeous! I really need to remember this comparison any time lace is involved.
    Also, that is the prettiest rainbow yarn I have seen yet!

  31. Feel better and here’s my tip for getting rid of that type of cough: drink water like it’s your job. Seriously, put an alert on your watch or similar and at regular intervals drink as much water as you can stand.

    I have asthma which used to result in a rattling cough that would last for a month after I got a cold. The water trick has ended that. I also get WAY fewer colds now that I’m on regular vitamin D supplements. I used to get one every 2 months or so in winter, to . . . well I don’t think I’ve had a cold in the last 3 years.

  32. Siren Song turned out so perfect! Aren’t you glad you persisted?

    I hate the coughing phase of the bugs. Some good tips on how to cope, and rest never hurt either (though you may be close to being rested out!). Take care of yourself. The days are getting longer. It was actually sunny when I walked out of the office after work yesterday!

  33. I am impressed that you wrote in such a balanced manner about Siren Song … you must still have a fever …

    I’m also hugely impressed by your Siren Song – it would be a life’s work for me and with a slightly hysterical chuckle I’ve added it to my Ravelry queue … oh. how I continue to chuckle …!!

  34. I just donated my Thrivent Choice dollars($52US) to KWB but can’t seem to get the reporting site to open. Is it still viable? Are you still recording the amounts and if so are you upgrading the amounts? It seems you got quite a bump from your Blogaversary.

  35. That’s a whole lot of knitting and finishing. I’m still plugging away on my bohus yoke and wishing the sock I was knitting wasn’t stripes (manual with two balls of yarn), but it’s too late to turn back now… I like the afterthought heel. I’ll have to remember that.

  36. It’s taken me maybe five posts about your Siren Song for me to realize that it’s also in my queue! It was supposed to be Christmas knitting, but, um, let’s not talk about that.

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